Celebrating 30+ Years of the Good Doctor
Never been into the whole role model thing, but if there’s any man—real of fictional—worth imitating, it’s Indiana Jones.
About thirty years ago, Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. Directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by George Lucas, and starring Harrison Ford, the film was a convergence of three men at their peak. Spielberg had not yet embraced his inner child, Lucas had not yet been seduced by CGI, and Ford had not yet lost his sense of humor.
As was the case with most males of my generation, the original Star Wars films made a huge pawprint on my psyche—but when I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, it spoke more to me. Star Wars may have woven an entrancing tale of mythological archetypes, but Indiana Jones connected more with real life.
Both consciously and unconsciously, I continue to imitate the whip-wielding archaeologist. Or at least try to. Here are ten things about the good doctor well worth emulating:
Dress Simply and for All Exigencies
Fedora, white shirt, leather jacket, khaki pants, boots—in the jungle, in the desert, in the mountains. The guy doesn’t fret too much about his wardrobe, and he’s ready for anything. And he doesn’t have any stupid designs or slogans on his clothes—that was the norm for the time, of course, but a norm that should be clung to.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Indy has a rakish smirk—or at least the ghost of one—constantly on his mug. It isn’t the smirk of smug ironic detachment, but of someone fully aware of the accidents and absurdities of existence. Even when he’s getting beat up he seems amused.
Have a Sense of Adventure
Travel, see the world, go to out-of-the-way places, take risks. A man needs a little danger and unpredictability in his life. Even a married man with kids and a job and responsibilities needs to live life at least a little on the edge. Don’t become too domesticated—bad for the soul.
Have a Passion for Antiquity
Something actually led up to where and what you are right now—things weren’t always like this, you know. Tasting of the richness and beauty of the past can be one of life’s great pleasures, right up there with sex and a walk in the woods. Besides, knowing nothing of the past puts you at the mercy of a million manipulators—and makes you boring company.
Let the Ladies See You at Your Best
Despite being a lady’s man, Indiana Jones doesn’t seem to come on very strong. He simply lets women see him at his best and they end up falling for him. Passion and expertise are aphrodisiacs: let women see you doing that thing you do and doing it well—whether it’s fighting Nazis or excavating ancient ruins or mopping the floor or fixing computers.
Shirk Work When Necessary
There’s a great scene in The Last Crusade in which Professor Jones is inundated with upset students who are waiting for their grades. Instead of caving under the stress or spending the next few hours trying to straighten everything out, he climbs out the window into sweet freedom. If done in moderation, ducking responsibility is an entirely viable option.
Be Able to Improvise
In Raiders, when asked what his plan is, he responds, “I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go.” Life is constantly throwing shit at you—you’ve got to be able to improvise. There’s a special art to not getting bent out of shape by what transpires, and there’s an even specialer art to bending events towards your own ends.
Keep in Shape
Would Indy be as appealing of a character if he had a big gut, or was wheezing every time he had to climb the stairs? Of course not. Men should be active, and an active man needs to be in fairly good physical condition. A six-pack isn’t necessary—just be fit enough to be able to walk long distances, fight, flee from a hail of gunfire, etc.
Indiana Jones is at heart a scientist, and so we see very little of the romantic or sentimentalist in his words or behavior. A man of the world, he takes things as they are. Even though the purpose of each of the films is to grind this in-born skepticism out of him with some kind of mystical revelation, there it is again at the beginning of the next film, resurrected.Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures comes out on Blu-Ray today. See what we have to say about it here.